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The Old Wives' Tale


Published June 10, 2008


LibriVox recording of The Old Wives' Tale, by Arnold Bennett. Read by Andy Minter.

The Old Wives' Tale is a novel by Arnold Bennett, first published in 1908. It deals with the lives of two very different sisters, Constance and Sophia Baines, following their stories from their youth, working in their mother's draper's shop, into old age. It is generally regarded as one of Bennett's finest works. It covers a period of about 70 years from roughly 1840 to 1905, and is set in Burslem and Paris. (Summary by Andy)

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Download M4B Part 1 (211MB)
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Download M4B Part 3 (223MB)


Source Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Run time 23:18:33

Reviews

Reviewer: ListeninginChicago - - March 23, 2012
Subject: Very well read
Andy does an excellent job of reading this book.

The book itself I found a bit hard to get through, but I kept coming back to it and taking it in small bits, it was a thoughtful reflection on the lives of these women (and their mother).
Reviewer: snordlof - - November 25, 2009
Subject: Excellent Reader, Wonderful Novel
Mr. Minter does a superlative job reading this little-known classic.
Reviewer: Clanky - - October 6, 2008
Subject: The Old Wives' Tale
A very good tale, told by Andy Minter very well!
Reviewer: TheBookworm - - September 2, 2008
Subject: Brilliant reading
A wise, compelling, but strangely under appreciated masterpiece. Bennett's introduction is particularly telling. I can only echo Philippe's praise (below) for Andy's recording and noble Midlands accent.
TheBookworm (Manchester, UK)
Reviewer: Philippe Horak - - July 10, 2008
Subject: An impressive recording
First published in 1908, The Old Wives' Tale affirms the integrity of ordinary lives as it tells the story of the Baines sisters--shy, retiring Constance and defiant, romantic Sophia--over the course of nearly half a century. Bennett traces the sisters' lives from childhood in their father's drapery shop in provincial Bursley, England, during the mid-Victorian era, through their married lives, to the modern industrial age, when they are reunited as old women. The setting moves from the Five Towns of Staffordshire to exotic and cosmopolitan Paris, while the action moves from the subdued domestic routine of the Baines household to the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.
Many thanks to Mr Minter's excellent recording. A real pleasure to listen to!
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